Leonardo DiCaprio talks 'The Revenant,' eyes 1st Academy Award

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Entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon has more with the actor.

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is likely to remain the most popular movie at the box office this weekend with a total gross now past three quarters of a billion dollars, more than any movie has ever made in North America. But the epic faces competition from "The Revenant," which goes into wide release Friday.

And the film is generating plenty of Oscar buzz for star Leonardo DiCaprio.

"The Revenant" is a man who comes back from the dead, and the story of how Hugo Glass survived after a bear attack in the wilderness back in the 1800s has become the stuff of legend.

"We're kind of trying to retrace their footsteps, so to speak, or get as close as we possibly could," DiCaprio said.

He and actor Tom Hardy, who plays the villain in the film, braved the Canadian wilderness in winter during shooting, where temperatures got as low as 40 degrees below zero.

"You do get into this kind of survival mode of just wanting to stay warm and well fed," DiCaprio said. "Just push on and persevere."

Moving forward required DiCaprio to eat raw bison meat and learn how to shoot a musket, though that didn't help him in the fight with the bear.

"In the context of making movies, this was definitely one of the most difficult ones I have ever done in my life," he said.

The shoot lasted the better part of a year, and the memory of it is still so fresh that the star says it's hard to judge the final result.

"It's kind of like this beautiful, strange blur of being in nature for such a long period of time," he said.

Throughout his career, DiCaprio has challengeed Hollywood notions of what it means to be a leading man, at times by hiding how handsome he is. Here, the actor takes it one step further.

"What we knew, what we signed on for was almost like an epic saga or an adventure rather than making a movie," he said. "And that living it, I think, is what you end up seeing up on screen."

Four times, DiCaprio has been rewarded for his work with an Oscar nomination, but he's never won. Now, he is the favorite for this role. The movie is too much of a tough slog to be great in and of itself, but based on his performance, the star deserves to finally go home with an Academy Award.

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